Guidance for supporters
If you've been asked to act as a supporter for a doctor during a performance assessment, the following information should be helpful. We also recommend that you read the overview of the assessment process for those assisting with an assessment.
We want doctors to perform to the best of their ability during an assessment, and have access to support and encouragement during what might be a stressful process. We encourage them to ask someone to act as their supporter. A supporter may be a representative of an advocacy organisation, a colleague, friend or relative.
The role of the supporter
There are several ways you can help the doctor under assessment.
When we first contact the doctor about the assessment we'll ask them to complete a portfolio, which details their experience and recent practice. The portfolio helps us choose appropriate assessors and allows the assessment team to plan an assessment based on the work the doctor does and their experience. The doctor may ask you to check that they have fully completed this document.
You're welcome to accompany the doctor during the introductory first interview and any assessed interviews . Your role will be to provide encouragement. You will not be allowed to act as an advocate or answer questions on the doctor’s behalf. You may intervene if you feel the doctor would benefit from a few minutes to collect their thoughts, or if they have not understood a question. You can’t be present during other parts of the assessment.
You may want to meet with the doctor during scheduled breaks to keep them company. Unless you are a colleague of the doctor, it may not be practical for you to attend their place of work. You're welcome to attend our clinical assessment centre and we will try to provide somewhere for you to wait while the doctor sits the tests.
It is important that the doctor cooperates fully with the assessment process. By encouraging their full participation, you will help the doctor to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) [link] can restrict or suspend the doctor's registration if they don't cooperate with an assessment which has been directed by an MPTS tribunal, or which we are carrying out to inform an investigation.
There is more detailed information about the assessment process on the pages for doctors undergoing an assessment. If you have any questions about the process, please contact us. We can't discuss a doctor’s assessment with you without their consent.